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Positions Available

We have positions available for post-docs and a senior scientist.  Graduate student slots are also available.  Please contact Dr. Guertin directly (recommended) or use the following links to apply:

Post Doctoral Associate

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Senior Research Scientist

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Research Opportunities

We take a multidisciplinary approach to investigate:

  1. Nutrient sensing pathways
  2. Organ communication
  3. Energy balance

Strategies include (but are not limited to) genetics, genomics, biochemistry, molecular & cellular biology, metabolomics, isotope tracing and animal physiology.

Projects

Elucidating Mechanisms of Cellular Nutrient Sensing by Mitochondria  

Mitochondria are called the powerhouses of a cell because they can generate large amounts energy (i.e. ATP).  But mitochondria do so much more.  For example, mitochondria are at the crossroads of many anabolic pathways that are connected through mitochondria-derived metabolites.  Mitochondria also provide a platform for signaling pathways that relay information about the cell's nutritional status to other compartments, which can influence gene expression, survival and many other processes.  The mitochondria of brown adipocytes are especially interesting as they additionally mediate the energy expensive process of thermogenesis - now appreciated to be a major therapeutic opportunity in obesity and type 2 diabetes.  This project is aimed at understanding the biology underlying how mitochondria send and receive metabolic messages especially in brown adipocytes, which are packed with thermogenic mitochondria.

Understanding Organ Communication in Health & Disease

Although cells and tissues are most often studied in isolation, in reality cells and organs function in harmony to maintain the overall energy balance of the whole organism.  Inter organ communication is vital to maintaining this balance, which occurs through the nervous system, the endocrine system, and sharing of metabolites.  Imbalances in any or all of these communication networks occurs in metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.  The ability to study these communication mechanisms in vivo, especially metabolite sharing, is rapidly advancing.  The goal of this project is to understand the in vivo metabolism of brown adipose tissue and how brown adipose tissue, white adipose tissue, and the liver communicate to maintain energy balance normally, during cold exposure, and during obesity. 

Defining a Major Nutrient Sensing Signal Transduction Pathway

mTOR Complex 2 (mTORC2) is one of two mTOR-containing multi-subunit protein complexes that regulates cellular nutrient sensing, the other being mTORC1.  While mTORC1 is best known for sensing intracellular amino acids, mTORC2 senses circulating nutrients (mainly glucose) indirectly by way of insulin signaling.  However, the regulation of mTORC2, its localization in cells, and its downstream functions remain poorly understood.  mTORC2 signaling influences how cells utilize carbohydrates and synthesize lipids, processes critical for tumor growth and maintaining whole body insulin sensitivity.  Indeed, inhibiting mTORC2 is anti-tumorigenic in many cancers, and its loss in adipose tissue or liver promotes metabolic disease.  This project aims to unravel long-standing mysteries of mTORC2 regulation and function as it relates to human diseases.  We hope that a better understanding of mTORC2 regulation will lead to new therapeutic opportunities.